Did you know that heating Olive Oil can cause it to lose many of its heart-healthy qualities? Saturated fats are often considered the best for cooking.
This is due to the molecular structure and composition of oils. Saturated fats do not have double bonds, so they are not sensitive to heat light and oxygen.
Vegetable oils (unsaturated fats) are very sensitive to heat and light. They also have double bonds. Heating these oils can also alter their molecular structure and destroy some of their healthy properties.
Monounsaturated fats in olive oil are not heat stable
Olive Oil consists of 70-80% monounsaturated fat in the form oleic acid. This oleic acid gives Olive Oil many health benefits, including improved insulin resistance, improved cancer fighting properties, and better heart health.
These monounsaturated fats also give Olive Oil its low smoking point. It's not suitable for temperatures higher than 250°F (121°C).
Heat Damage Does Not Cause Olive Oil to Contain Heart-Healthy Polyphenols
Olive Oil is rich in antioxidant properties thanks to its phenolic compounds. These include hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein and oleuropein. These phenols which act as antioxidants to protect heart health, begin to lose their effectiveness at high temperatures.
Heating Olive Oil Helps Destroy Omega Fatty Acids
Olive Oil has both Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids. Dr. Mercola says that omega-3 fats "significantly structural components of cell membranes throughout the body and are particularly rich in the retina and brain. Sperm also contains docosahexaenoic (DHA), which makes up 36.4% of total oils."
These fatty acids are sensitive and easily destroyed by heat when Olive Oil is heated.
Low Smoke Point = Avoiding Toxic Smoke
Toxic smoke is produced when oil is heated beyond its smoking point. Olive Oil is a low-smoke point oil so cooking with it can lead to smoke that may contain compounds that could be harmful to your health.
Many olive oils are not real
A few brands have substituted olive oil with cheaper oils like soybean oil, canola oils, and hazelnut oils.
In 2011, UC Davis conducted a study and found that 73% of 5 top-selling imported Olive Oil brands did not meet European standards for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
This could mean that the oils can be contaminated or mixed with other vegetable oils like soy, corn or cottonseed.
What is the Next Step?
Olive Oil is a delicious and healthy oil. It can be used in salad dressings or drizzled over cooked vegetables.